New York Jets NFL Draft Grades 2023: Will McDonald IV, Joe Tippmann, Carter Warren Added

What are the New York Jets' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

The New Yorks Jets‘ acquisition of Aaron Rodgers in the build-up to the 2023 NFL Draft shaped their approach to the NFL’s annual selection event. Did they add enough playmakers to be a force in the AFC East this year? The Jets’ draft grades tell the story of how their 2023 NFL Draft unfolded.

New York Jets NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 15: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State

After getting hosed by the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers with presumptive target Broderick Jones, the Jets turn to the defensive side of the ball in the first round for the second consecutive season.

Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV has been an ascending prospect late in the 2023 NFL Draft process, but his selection in the top half of the first round — with EDGE prospects like Nolan Smith still on the board — is somewhat of a surprise.

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There’s plenty to love about McDonald, however. Used in multiple ways for the Cyclones, his best usage is as a 3-4 outside linebacker who can win with explosion, twitch, and flexibility. The Jets have strived to find an edge presence in recent seasons, perhaps they found it here with the 15th overall pick. Perhaps.

Grade: C+

Round 2, Pick 43: Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin

After bulking up the defensive side of the trenches in Round 1, the Jets provide some stability to the offensive line’s interior with their second-round pick. Offensive line has been an issue for New York, and protecting Aaron Rodgers was clearly going to be a priority early in the draft. Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann will be beneficial for the Jets in multiple ways.

A big, hyper-athletic center, Tippmann is impressive both physically and mentally. Strong and intelligent, he should be the anchor of the Jets’ interior for years to come. With the top offensive tackles off the board, this is the best option New York could’ve hoped for with their only Day 2 pick.

Grade: B+

Round 4, Pick 120: Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh

Carter Warren surprised everyone when he made an appearance at the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl after missing the majority of the 2022 season due to injury. In his best form, Warren is a dominant left tackle with strength at the point of attack and great balance through contact.

Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 143: Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh

The grade here is for fit and need, not indicative of the talent Israel Abanikanda possesses. With Breece Hall returning off an injury, the backfield is seemingly still his at this point. Where Abanikanda fits in this offense will drive fans, fantasy players, and defenses alike wild.

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Abanikanda is dominant with the ball in his hands, electric with his elusiveness and short-area quickness, and a threat to take the ball the distance on every touch.

Grade: C+

Round 6, Pick 184: Zaire Barnes, LB, Western Michigan

There’s plenty to like about Zaire Barnes‘ game as a potential three-down linebacker for the Jets. Barnes flashed at times during his career with Western Michigan, showcasing a keen ability to play to his strengths when advantageous. He can rush the passer very well from the weakside and improved his coverage ability in each of his seasons as his snap count increased.

Grade: B-

Round 6, Pick 204: Jarrick Bernard-Converse, CB, LSU

Jarrick Bernard-Converse has great size and is easily one of the most experienced defensive backs in the entire 2023 NFL Draft. He comes with athletic limitations but has to have a stickiness to his coverage skills. Bernard-Converse transferred to LSU after four seasons at Oklahoma State and nearly 30 career plays on the ball in his five-year college career.

Grade: B+

Round 7, Pick 220: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion

A large man for Old Dominion, Zack Kuntz would have likely been a higher pick had he not missed the majority of the 2022 season with an injury. He was heavily targeted in his first season at ODU in 2021 after transferring in from Penn State, racking up five touchdowns and nearly 10 yards per catch in the process. At 6’7” and over 250 pounds, Kuntz has a future as a pass-catching specialist for the Jets.

Grade: B

What Were the Jets’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

  •  C, OT, EDGE, DT

The Jets need a center. Whoever starts for them will be insulated by outstanding guards, so maybe they could survive with Wes Schweitzer and Trystan Colon, but they could likely improve there in the draft.

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